Educational Apps for the Summer

I know what you're thinking: "But what a minute - she's been advocating screen limits for summer, extracurricular activities so the kids won't reach for their tech and now she wants them to play with apps?"  No I haven't been out in the sun too long, but I do think that technology - in the right dosage - is a very good thing indeed.

So what about those educational apps?

If your kids are looking for a little time on the computer or tablet or smartphone, why not let them engage in an age-appropriate educational activity? They will think you are being super cool and laid-back about their screen limits, while you know that they are getting some much needed intellectual stimulation over the summer.  And as the experts are keen to note, summer reading and learning activities help reduce the Summer Brain Drain.

Check out Common Sense Media's Summer Learning Guide which specifically breaks down different learning categories by age (2-7, 8-12, 13-17).  Your child can Explore...

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Understanding In-App Purchases

AUTHOR: Katherine Fitzgerald, Law student, University of Paris 8

Let’s face it apps are everywhere and all invasive it seems. There are apps for dating, banks, bookstores, cinemas, health, music and of course the holy mecca when it comes to children: games.

Whilst our older children still prefer to use their smartphones, a growing phenomenon has develop in the last few years in smaller children. Case in point according to OFCOM tablet computers are growing fast in popularity, becoming a must-have device for children of all ages. The use of tablets has tripled among 5-15s since 2012 (42%, up from 14%), and one quarter (28%) of infants aged 3-4 now use a tablet computer at home. Whilst this figure seems alarming it just seems to reflect a greater use of technology as a form of entertainment at home. I remember my parents being concerned at my love of television as a child. It therefore doesn’t seem so surprising to see that the younger generations are now turning to...

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Back-to-School Digital Habits

Only three weeks into the school year and I feel the burning need to write yet another post about back-to-school digital habits.  Perhaps because I’m thinking that some parents out there are just not feeling the technology.  Or maybe because I think that there are parents out there cowering in kitchens (with a glass of wine) when they think about apps and ipads and games, oh my.

So the good news first: you are raising a child in the 21st century and unless you live in a hermetically sealed, self-contained and self-sustaining pod somewhere, your child will one day inevitably come into contact with technology.  And the simple truth is that technology IS changing education and your child will need to know these skills of the future.

Embrace the technology and get with the program.  (And when I mean embrace the program, I don't mean run out and buy an iPhone 6 plus for your 3 year old. But I do mean, understand that technology can be a good thing if you set...

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Yik Yak, Anonymity Talking Back

Student post from Hannah Amreen, Law student University of Paris 8

A free social app based on anonymity can prove to be a recipe for disaster, especially in the hands of high school kids who are looking for a means to vent out bitter feelings about their classmates. Initially, Yik Yak, launched in December 2013, was meant for college students, as a ‘virtual bulletin board’ as its creators describe it, which enables its users to share ideas and information with the closest 500 users. Users are limited to 200 characters, no pictures allowed. But there is room enough for nefarious use of the app to be made and defamatory material to be posted, especially since the app has spread to middle and high schools where users are not mature enough to use the app correctly.

A debate on anonymity has been raised. At best, it is a platform where people can easily voice out their opinion, help each other and where close-knit communities can be formed. At worse, it is according to a...

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